Sunday, April 27, 2014

The NingXia Red Project: Before

I've decided to try a 30-day trial of the nutritional supplement NingXia Red. It is a Young Living product that is proposed to support normal digestive health, healthy immune function, normal brain function, a healthy cardiovascular system, vision, longevity. It's also supposed to be very rich in antioxidants. It is low in sugar and calories which is why many have used it as a means to weight loss though that is not it's advertised purpose.

My Health

Before we talk about what I intend to gain or how I intend to benefit from this NingXia trial I guess it's helpful to talk about my health.

First, I consider myself to be a "healthy" individual. The last time I have been to the doctor for an actual illness was spring of 2010. The last time I remember having a "cold" was sometime in 2012 (it's currently April or 2014). I have never had the flu. I don't suffer from allergies or any other chronic respiratory illnesses. In other words, I have a relatively good immune system (or I'm just that good at avoiding all the nasties that go around).

I'm 33 weeks pregnant. Other than Restless Leg Syndrome and a sore pelvic region, I am feeling pretty good for being so far along. I sleep well (thanks to a combination of topically applied essential oils) and I have adequate energy though I could use more (as could everyone, right?).

The last time I had a complete physical, including blood work was when I was about 20 weeks pregnant. My iron is perfect. My blood pressure is good and low. My blood sugar is ideal. My cholesterol is smack-dab in the middle of normal. In other words, from a laboratory standard, I am the picture of health.

I am a healthy weight (if not slightly underweight). I an not as active as I probably should be but I take frequent walks, I teach Yoga once a week, and I make it a point to try to move when I can.

While getting my driver's license renewed last month I discovered that my vision is now to the point where I can no long pass the vision screening at the DMV. For the first time in 29 years, I legally need glasses to drive. 

My Diet

My diet is pretty standard American. Which means it contains meat, not enough fruits and vegetables, too much junk food and not enough water. I do make a conscious effort to be better in all of these areas but I am far from the ideal.

A standard day for me is breakfast: cereal or eggs and bacon. Milk, coffee or water for a beverage.

Lunch: soup from a can (tomato being a favorite) or sandwich (PB&J or ham and cheese or the occasional tuna). Water or some kind of fruit juice for a beverage.

Dinner: Stew, Pizza, wraps... anything goes for dinner. If I'm going to get a good helping of vegetables in, it's going to be at dinner. Again, it's water or tea or maybe a coca-cola as a treat.

When I snack it is on fruit--apples being the most popular in our home. We can go through a bag of apples a week. And if it's not apples it's apple sauce. We buy it in bulk. Oranges, bananas, mangoes and yogurt are our other go-to snack foods.

In the evening I will occasionally sneak a handful of chocolate chips or piece of candy from the most recent holiday candy stash. I also have an occasional craving for doughnuts or chocolate covered raisins.

My Beverages

And when it comes to caffeinated and/or heavily sugared beverages, I consume them quite moderately. A cup of coffee will be sipped on throughout an entire day. One small bottle of coca-cola will last me all evening and I will likely share it with my husband as opposed to drinking a whole one myself. I am a little more liberal with sweet tea but not to an obsessive amount. Though I know I do not drink enough through the day, in general, water or tea is the beverage of choice.

My Energy

Because I enjoy relatively good sleep, am moderately active and don't weigh myself down with too much junk food I feel what I consider to be normal energy levels throughout any given day. I don't feel tired but I don't feel wired or overly energized. I also do not feel as though I have to rely on caffeine or any special products to augment my energy. I drink coffees and sodas for the taste and even then I drink them so moderately I do not experience highs and crashes that are sometimes associated with consuming too much of those types of drinks.

If I'm feeling low on energy it's usually because I'm not eating enough calories. I will drink a protein shake to get my boost. If I'm still feeling particularly tired I will try to sneak in a nap if I can.


I take Magnesium and vitamins B, D, C and E, daily. I do not take a prenatal vitamin only because my last prenatal vitamins made me sick to my stomach and my midwife told me I could stop them until I found something better. I've been lazy and haven't gotten any replacements yet.

Illnesses or Complaints

If I had a complaint it would be my digestion. I have suffered from chronic constipation pretty much my entire life. I am far from "regular." Once every 2-3 days is the norm for me and my stool is often hard and uncomfortable. Bloating and general abdominal discomfort can often be the result. Pregnancy can certainly confound those issues and immediately after birthing my children I often have to rely on stool softeners and laxatives to get through the first couple of weeks.

Concentration, memory and focus are lagging. I blame it a lot on "pregnancy" brain but I find myself being far more forgetful of late than ever before. I will have to read the same sentence on a page several times to digest it and some of the simplest mental tasks take far too long for me to work through.

Joint health and strength need improving upon. Though I know much of it is pregnancy related, the pain in my pelvis and lower back needs to go. I lifted weights pretty regularly before getting pregnant with this baby but got out of that routine while experiencing morning sickness in my first trimester. The result has been loss of muscle toning in my posterior chain (back, butt and leg muscles) which is probably contributing to the discomfort in my back and pelvis. Though I'm not intending on starting to actively lift again until our baby is born, I would still like to continue yoga and other exercises to maintain what muscle I have left in those areas.


So, now that I've extensively described my health allow me to explain why I am undertaking this trial. By some standards it may seem as though I do not "need" it (by my own standards I would say I don't "need" it). I find that to be an added factor in why I want to try it. If I'm not really hoping it does anything for me I have no expectations to psychologically effect my results.

Very simply, I'm curious. I just want to see if it will do anything at all for me. I've been reading many testimonials from people saying all these wonderful things about it from increasing energy, boosting immune systems and even reversing vision impairment. I've also read interesting testimonials from pregnant women who claim drinking it gave them healthier placentas and easier deliveries.

The Plan

Nutritional Fact Sheet for NingXia Red
I have a two 750ml (why they can't just measure it in ounces, I have no idea) bottles scheduled to be delivered on Tuesday.

One will be my husband's and one will be mine.

My husband has also agreed to be part of this experiment to see if/how it might benefit another generally healthy individual.

He, too, is active, healthy (weight, BP, cholesterol, etc, normal), with his only complaints being soreness after workouts, seasonal allergies and lack of energy due to chasing around his kids.

We will both drink an ounce of NingXia Red every morning when we get up for 30 days and at the end of each day we will assess ourselves on 6 certain criteria:

1) Energy.
Increase or decrease thereof.

2) Digestion
Regularity, consistency, etc.

3) Joint/Musculoskeletal
Increase or decrease in soreness, aches and pains.

4) Appetite
Increase or decrease in cravings for sugars, caffeine and/or other products.

5) Mental Acuity
Whether mental tasks seem easier or more difficult.

6) Mood
Any increase or decrease in irritability, anxiety, stress, enjoyment or general feelings of well-being.

Though we aren't getting any before or after blood work, I may be inclined to check BP and pulse occasionally throughout this trial just to see any changes or the consistency of it.

I'm also going to let my midwife know that I'm taking this new supplement and ask her to monitor her perceived health of baby and uterus, etc.

Tomorrow will be day One.

Let the journey begin!

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